December 6, 2021

Rosario to ride Tale of Verve; Mr. Z out of Preakness

Last updated: 5/10/15 8:51 PM

Owner Ahmed Zayat wants to help Mr. Z get his confidence back
(Bob Newell/

Charles Fipke’s Tale of Verve (Tale of Ekati) entered
the Preakness (G1) picture after a five-furlong work in 1:00 2/5 Sunday morning at
Churchill Downs and Zayat Stables’ Mr. Z (Malibu Moon), 13th in the Kentucky Derby
(G1), was withdrawn from consideration by owner Ahmed Zayat.

“I’m not running,” Zayat said in a phone interview with The
and Daily Racing Form. “I just don’t see any merit for that.

know he didn’t have a chance to run in the Derby. I know he was in huge traffic.
But I think at this juncture I need to get him confidence. I know the horse is
tenacious. I know he’s all heart. I know he’s fast. I know he was in a photo
finish with Dortmund (Big Brown) and Firing Line (Line of David) (in the Los Alamitos Futurity

“So you would
argue he’s as talented as they are, at least on paper and actuality…I think I
need to build his confidence back.”

Zayat said he ran Mr. Z in the Derby on trainer D. Wayne Lukas’
recommendation “out of respect for the experience of the Hall of Famer.”

“I’m sure he has the horse’s best interest in mind,” Zayat said. “But there’s
a point where I need to get involved. I don’t want to micromanage my trainers.
But I think at this juncture, what’s the point of coming back in two weeks? The
only reason we’re coming in two weeks (with American Pharoah) is because you
have to think in your head ‘Triple Crown.’ But I would not want to run my horses
in two weeks.”

Dallas Stewart trains Tale of Verve, whose work accomplished a little after 6:30
a.m. (EDT) was the fifth fastest of 25 at the distance.

With exercise rider Pedro Velez aboard and working with the Fipke-owned Lemon
Drop Title, Tale of Verve produced fractions of :12 3/5, :24 3/5, :36 3/5 and
galloped out six furlongs in 1:14 3/5.

“Twelves all the way around – beautiful,” Stewart said. “I may jog him in the
morning and we might van up Tuesday. I’m still working on that.

“He is fit and fresh and we are excited to see what we have. (Joel) Rosario will ride. He was on him when he broke his

In other Preakness activity at Churchill Downs:

The top three finishers from the
Derby were on the track shortly after it opened following the morning renovation

Zayat Stables’ Derby winner American Pharoah (Pioneerof the Nile) and Kaleem Shah’s Dortmund,
third in the Derby, jogged to the starting gate at the head of the stretch where
they stood and then galloped 1 1/2 miles. Jorge Alvarez was aboard American Pharoah and Dana Barnes was on Dortmund.

Trainer Bob Baffert, who got his
fourth Derby win with American Pharoah, is scheduled to arrive in Louisville
later Sunday from his Southern California base. His two Derby colts are
scheduled to leave for Pimlico on Wednesday.

Baffert has won the Preakness five times, with Silver Charm (1997), Real
Quiet (1998), Point Given (2001), War Emblem (2002) and Lookin At Lucky (2010).

“They both ran their races and that’s all you can ask for,” Baffert said of
American Pharoah and Dortmund. “Turning for home they were there and they ran
first and third, so I was just happy and relieved that we won the Kentucky

“We won the most important race we were aiming for, so now it’s on to the
Preakness. I haven’t seen anything that would tell me American Pharoah has
regressed. Both horses look good, so that means they were pretty fit.

“Going into the Derby, they were well-conditioned. You have to have good
horses and they have to run their race, and they both ran their races and that’s
a good sign.”

Is the shorter Preakness distance of 1 3/16 miles and a different track
surface cause for concern?

“You know what? I’ve had a lot of success in the Preakness, because I’ve won
it with really good horses,” Baffert said. “I’ve always gone in there and won
with the best horse, but you still have to get the trip, the post, everything.
You still have to be lucky.

“I really don’t think about it until after the draw. Then you start trying to
figure out strategy. The break is still the most important part. Last year with
Bayern (Offlee Wild), he just got completely eliminated at the start, so you can
get eliminated, forget about what kind of horse you have.

“You never know how they’re going to run. When I got there with Silver Charm,
I wasn’t sure how he was going to run, but I had just won the Derby, so I felt
if he wins, fine, if he doesn’t, I still won the Derby.

“I feel good about our horses for the Preakness, but you still need to get
around there.”

Arnold Zetcher’s Derby runner-up Firing Line had an open gallop of about
six furlongs under Humberto Gomez with a similar activity scheduled for Monday
according to trainer Simon Callaghan.

“That is what Simon wanted to do this morning,” Gomez said. “I like to put
him on the rail when he open gallops. He feels more comfortable there.

“The track was very good today, not like the last two days. I didn’t have to
find a spot today. I started at about the quarter-pole and went about
three-quarters of a mile. It was about a two-minute lick.”

Callaghan, from his home base at Santa Anita, said the colt would have
another session similar to Sunday’s exercise on Monday and would have a regular
gallop Tuesday.

“He had another good day. He was very comfortable,” Gomez said. “He has had a
very good week. The main concern coming out of a tough race (like the Derby) is
keeping his weight on, which he has. He has never stopped eating.”

Firing Line is scheduled to ship to
Baltimore on Wednesday.

John Oxley’s Danzig Moon (Malibu Moon), fifth in the Derby, had a scheduled walk day
at trainer Mark Casse’s barn.

Norman Casse, assistant to his father, took note of the long-range forecast
that calls for a 60 percent chance of storms Preakness Day.

“I would prefer it to be fast for Pimlico, so they can have a good day,”
Casse said. “He (Danzig Moon) is a Malibu Moon and they typically have good
off-track form. I think he would like it. Saturday morning (after an overnight
rain), there was not a lot of water on the track but (exercise rider) William
(Cano) said it was the best he had ever gone over it.”  

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